How to Train Your Dog: Essential Commands and Tricks

NNathan January 5, 2024 7:02 AM

Training your dog is not just about making your life easier, but it's also about creating a happy, healthy relationship with your pet. Here are some essential commands and tricks you can teach your dog.

Basic dog obedience training

When you bring a new dog into your home, your first task is teaching them to listen to basic commands. This will help you manage their behavior and keep them safe. The most important commands you should teach your dog are Sit, Stay, Down, Come, and Leave it.


This command is one of the easiest to teach. Hold a treat close to your dog’s nose and then move your hand up, allowing their head to follow the treat causing their bottom to lower. Once they’re in sitting position, say Sit, give them the treat and share affection.


Before attempting this one, make sure your dog is an expert at the Sit command. First, ask your dog to Sit. Then open the palm of your hand in front of you and say Stay. If your dog stays, give a reward. Repeat this process, gradually increasing the distance between you and your dog.


This can be one of the more difficult commands in dog obedience training. Find a particularly good-smelling treat and hold it in your closed fist. Hold your hand up to your dog’s snout. When the dog sniffs it, move your hand to the floor, then slide it along the ground in front of them. The dog should follow the treat and lie down.


This command could potentially save your dog's life, it can help keep a dog out of trouble or bring them back to you if they slip out of their leash. Put a leash and collar on your dog and go down to their level and say Come while gently pulling on the leash.

Leave it

This can help keep your dog safe when curiosity gets the better of them on walks. Place a treat in both hands. Show them one enclosed fist with the treat inside and say Leave it. Ignore the behaviors they throw at you to get the treat, and once they stop trying, give them the treat from the other hand.

Simple tricks to train your dog

Beyond basic commands, you can also teach your dog some tricks, such as Shake hands, Play dead, Roll over, and Fetch.

Shake hands

Start by asking your dog to Sit. Then, tickle the back of their paw until they lift their paw. As they do, say Shake hands. Use your other hand to grab the raised paw and give them a treat. Repeat this daily and soon your dog will be shaking hands on command.

Play dead

This trick can be a bit more tricky and may require additional patience. Start by having your dog Sit. Then, use a treat and move your hand from their nose towards their shoulder, prompting them to lay down on their side. As they do this, say Play dead. Give them the treat and repeat the process.

Roll over

Start with your dog in Play dead position. Hold a treat by their nose and guide their head to follow the treat, causing them to roll over. As they complete the roll, say Roll over. Give them the treat and practice this command daily.


First, find an object that your dog likes. It could be a ball, a toy, or a stick. Throw the object and say Fetch. When your dog goes to get the object, call them back with the Come command. Once they bring back the object, reward them with a treat.

Dog training tips and tricks

  • Start training your dog as soon as possible. Puppies can start learning commands when they're just a few weeks old.
  • Be consistent with your commands. Use the same words and gestures each time.
  • Always use positive reinforcement. Praise your dog and give them treats when they do something right.
  • Keep training sessions short. Dogs, especially puppies, have short attention spans.
  • Be patient. Training takes time, so don't expect immediate results.

By using these techniques and tips, you'll have a well-trained, happy dog in no time.

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